Michael Sam will be focused on football. But cameras will be focused on Michael Sam. The Oprah Winfrey Network will be filming a multi-part documentary about the Rams’ 7th round pick, as he seeks to become the first openly gay NFL player.
“Like every player out there working to make a team right now, my focus is on playing football to the very best of my ability,” said Sam. “I am determined. And if seeing my story helps somebody else accept who they are and to go for their dreams too, that’s great. I am thankful to Oprah for her support and excited to work together.”
This is a “documentary” not a “reality show.” There’s still a distinction between documenting an event of historical import and starring in “Real Househusbands of the St. Louis Rams Locker Room.” At least I hope there is. Few raise hackles about “Hard Knocks.” Few will attribute a disappointing U.S. World Cup performance to “Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil” cameras. The NHL also does “24/7” before the Winter Classic. Those are purely for entertainment.
These men are professional athletes, used to having cameras and microphones thrust in their face while naked. This should be fine. Sam has already had cameras filming him. The Rams drafted him anyway.
As a counterpoint to the “distraction” narrative, he’s also deflecting a lot of media attention from Greg Robinson and Aaron Donald. Not to mention Sam Bradford, who is fighting to keep his job.